Escuela Bilingüe Internacional Preschool (EBI)

Community Subscriber

Oakland, CA

To see Department of Social Services records on this facility, click on its DSS Facility License # below.

DSS Facility License #: 
Private non-profit school and preschool
admissions [at]
North Oakland on Alcatraz
Maximum Capacity: 
Language(s) Spoken: 
English, Spanish
Ages Served: 
36 months - 60 months
Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri
Editors' Notes: 

Parent Reviews

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Hello, we loved Escuela Bilingue Internacional (EBI) for preschool. Very warm and caring teachers and the IB curriculum was also very creative and holistic, wonderful music program, and Spanish immersion. We would have stayed but private K-12 was not an option for us. Highly recommend you tour it  :) 

We sent our son to Escuela Bilingüe Internacional (EBI).  He absolutely loved it there.  It is a Spanish immersion play-based, pre-school that also continues on K-8th grade as the only Spanish immersion international baccalaureate program elementary/middle school in the Bay Area.  The curriculum encourages inquiry/curiosity through play.

The first day there he cried at drop off but was welcomed to class with a warm hug from the teacher.  By the end of the first week, he was telling us, “School is getting ‘funner and funner’.  By the end of the second week, he was asking us, “Why can’t I spend more time at school everyday?” (We had no need to sign him up for the aftercare program).

The teachers immediately form warm attachments with the kids making the kids feel secure at school emotionally.  The connection to the international baccalaureate (IB) program as a world school brings unique opportunities/resources that other schools don’t have (for example, my son’s class had the opportunity to have group Skype conversations with a classroom of children from other Latin American countries to explore each other’s cultures around whichever topic they were learning in their curriculum).  Most importantly, my son’s natural curiosity was encouraged in his learning process.

Check out their website

Escuela Bilingüe Internacional is where my child went and he loved it.  It is play-based, nurturing, and the age of your children are the age when they can acquire another language even if you don’t speak it at home.  Contact them to see if they still have openings:

Yes! you should check out EBI.  We have been there two years now and absolutely love it.

I sent my boy to Escuela Bilingüe Internacional located in North Oakland on Alcatraz/Telegraph.  It's a Spanish immersion play-based preschool which then continues on K-8th grade if desired.  They have a relatively new outdoor space that my boy loved.  He never wanted to leave there after school.  Many of his closest friendships were developed there that have continued on until today.  The teachers were like warm aunties to him and made him feel like school was a second home.  Within a week after starting preschool there, he was asking me, "Daddy, why can't I spend more time at EBI?"

We had a great immersion experience at Escuela Bilingue Internacional on Alcatraz near Telegraph. Our son attended pre-K there for two years. The teachers are very warm and nurturing, and we also enjoyed the community. Additionally EBI offers the International Baccalaureate program, where even pre-K students have thoughtful multi-week units of inquiry, where they explore themes such as "Who we are" and "How we express ourselves through art." And lastly, their music teacher is a gem.  

I can't speak to KSS, but I can strongly recommend Escuela Bilingüe Internacional (EBI). My two daughters went through their preschool. The teachers are amazingly loving and able to deeply connect with the kids and help them through the sometimes challenging transition to school. EBI is an International Baccalaureate (IB) school that extends PK - 8, and the inquiry based approach to learning also extends into the pre-K program. The kids at EBI actually ENJOY learning and love going to school.  And of course, this is all done 100% in Spanish.  My wife and I do not speak Spanish, but both of my kids are near or at grade level fluency in Spanish. Even after just 2 years, they could have full conversations with their teachers in Spanish.

I agree with previous response - try EBI in Rockridge.  Our daughters started in preschool there and are now in 1st and 2nd grades.  We love the teachers and the curriculum!  Good luck with the move!  

Another vote for EBI.  My daughters are in 1st and 2nd grades.  They started in preschool there and we've been extremely happy with the quality of the program, the teachers, the community and the facilities.  They are fluent spanish speakers with perfect accents (I don't really speak spanish but native speakers compliment their accents).  The students are curious, global citizens.  

My kids went to Monte Tavor and then to EBI once they were 3 years old.  They are still there 8 years later.  The Spanish has been excellent and was the initial draw but I love the international baccalaureate curriculum structure and how its taught my kids to think, the community is warm, caring and progressive and the school is dedicated to values that are meaningful to my family.

Hi, I recommend visiting Escuela Bilingüe Internacional (EBI). It's a Spanish immersion school with programs for pre-k through 8th grade. Even if Spanish immersion is not on your mind, this is an amazing place for preschool. Loving environment with amazing teachers and activities. 

Hi, I suggest you visit Escuela Bilingue International (EBI).  My son is in preschool and my daughter is in first grade at EBI.  Both of my kids started in other bilingual schools or preschools and then we switched them to EBI and I am so so grateful for this school.  EBI has a program from preschool to 8th grade (older kids are on a separate campus). Even if you choose to only do preschool at EBI and even if a bilingual program was not your priority, I would still suggest visiting EBI.  The preschool program is wonderful.  The classrooms are beautiful and spacious and place children at the center.  My son who is very sensitive and prone to nightmares and night terrors, is so well taken care of at EBI.  The teachers are responsive to my concerns about him, they watch out for things that might trigger him (like loud noises) and are so supportive.  My son is also learning so much about the world around him, how to be independent, be a good friend, and take care of his surroundings.  Every day that he enters his classroom there are various projects and workspaces and play areas that are inviting and  fun.  As an educator I can also see how the activities are also helping him practice fine motor skills, role play, and play in a group.  My daughter is in first grade and did not attend the preschool at EBI.  Honestly, each day that I enter my son's preschool room, I see things that I wish she had been a part of.  And finally- the LOVE.  I can't imagine loving every single child in a classroom, but these teachers simply love my son.  My son tells me he loves each of his teachers which makes me so happy for him.  If you call the school (510) 653-3324 ext 104 you can speak with Liza or Gina to schedule a tour of the campus.  

Have you looked into EBI? (Escuela Bilingue Internacional).  My daughter attends there and we love it. It's a   The school runs from Pre-K all the way through 8th grade. My daughter started this past fall in PK-1 and she is extremely comfortable speaking in either English or Spanish already.  She sang me the sweetest song all in Spanish just this morning!  We love the community of people, the value of play + education and the warmth and human centered feel from the staff and teachers. I can't recommend it more.

We chose EBI because there was a clear pipeline to Kinder and beyond in case we wanted to stay longer than PK... and we did. Despite having a spot one of the most coveted OUSD K-8th grade schools for my son, we elected to bite the bullet and stay so that we could have a bilingual child... So it's helpful to think about the big picture.

EBI in Rockridge. A Spanish immersion preschool is play based and full of warm and loving teachers. My kids love it and it is Pre-k through 8th grade so once you are admitted you can stay through middle school. They have a few open spots for fall.

I highly recommend Escuela Bilingue Internacinal(EBI).   We have a 2nd grader and a child entering preschool in the fall. It is a warm and caring environment, with a wonderful team of  teachers.  Everyone speaks Spanish and most are native speakers.  There are a few tours in the coming weeks and they may have an opening for fall  

RE: Would love feedback on EBI ()

I posted a version of this response to someone else's question about preschools but I beefed it up since you asked specifically about EBI. 

My daughter has attended their preschool for the past two years and we will be enrolling her in their K-8 program next fall. A few of the reasons we love EBI are highlighted below:

 IB academic program - they start the International Baccalaureate (IB) in preschool with the primary years program. You would think it wouldn’t “matter” for preK but the way the program encourages a love for learning is amazing. My daughter came home one day and said she wanted to play math. I thought ‘huh?’ and said ‘sure teach me how to play’. Soon enough we were drawing numbers, jumping x times, counting, and adding. Her teacher told me that it is important the children begin to understand the connection between the number and volume. I love that! The ERB (standardized test for independent schools) test results for the school are phenomenal so it is clear the approach to learning really flows through the upper grades. If you can, check out the 5th grade exhibition and ask about the 8th grade project presentation.

School community - these kids are impressive. Thoughtful, kind, curious, resourceful. Did I already mention kind?? I really love the children at this school. The IB program at heart is rooted in caring for your community and being part of a greater whole. My daughter speaks often about caring for the community around us, being part of a family, and respecting differences. I am so proud of the person she is and am glad that she has so many others with similar values surrounding her. The parent community is fabulous as well!

Language immersion - My daughter speaks Spanish with, what I’m told, is a native accent. This school teaches through Spanish, which is a fancy way of saying she is getting an amazing education and learning to speak Spanish while doing it. The ability to speak another language is invaluable and will allow her to broaden her life experience. One of the school’s graduates is doing a year abroad at a school in Oaxaca, Mexico before starting at Lick-Wilmerding in the fall. 

Staff - the IB program is challenging and EBI has a dedicated staff and committed teachers. They really went above and beyond when we were dealing with speech language issues. Great student/teacher ratio. Head of School goes out of his way to make sure we know he is aware of our daughter and her progress. We appreciate that. 

Love - she loves it and at the end of the day that’s all that matters.

Other things - grounds are ok. PreK-1st location seems “light” on facility amenities but it is just the right size for the littles. We’ve had trouble getting our daughter to leave the play structures often. Lunch program is a nice to have option. We mostly pack her lunch. The 2nd -8th campus is great. I’d encourage anyone looking at the K-8 program to tour both campuses. Plenty of volunteer options.

Overall grade: 10!

Enthusiastic recommendation for EBI (Escuela Bilingue Internacional) @ Colby/Alcatraz. My daughter started there when she was 3 and is finishing her second year of PreK. We’ll be sending her there for Kindergarten in the fall. Some things I like about the program are the IB program, language immersion, staff, and parent community. So they start the International Baccalaureate (IB) in preschool with the primary years program. You would think it wouldn’t “matter” for preK but the way the IB program encourages a love for learning is amazing. My daughter is always asking probing questions about math, art, language, you name it. I really love the children at this school. The IB program at heart is rooted in caring for your community and being part of a greater whole. My daughter speaks often about caring for the community around us, being part of a family, and respecting differences. I am so proud of the person she is and am glad that she has so many others with similar values surrounding her. The parent community is fabulous as well! The school is a language immersion program. My daughter speaks Spanish with, what I’m told, is a native accent. This school teaches through Spanish, which is a fancy way of saying she is getting an amazing education and learning to speak Spanish while doing it. The ability to speak another language is invaluable and will allow her to broaden her life experience. One of the school’s graduates is doing a year abroad at a school in Oaxaca, Mexico before starting at Lick-Wilmerding in the fall. The IB program is challenging (in a good way J) and EBI has a dedicated staff and committed teachers. They really went above and beyond when we were dealing with speech language issues. Great student/teacher ratio. Head of School goes out of his way to make sure we know he is aware of our daughter and her progress. We appreciate that.

Other things - grounds are ok. PreK-1st location seems “light” on facility amenities but it is just the right size for the littles. We’ve had trouble getting our daughter to leave the play structures often. Lunch program is a nice to have option. We mostly pack her lunch. The 2nd -8th campus is great. I’d encourage anyone looking at the K-8 program to tour both campuses. Plenty of volunteer options.

RE: Would love feedback on EBI ()

There are definitely spots open for PK and K, if you're looking for something now.

We moved to the Bay last year, in the middle of the year, and EBI was amazingly accommodating. They took him into their youngest class, Amarillo, and we couldn't be happier. The teachers are amazing, dedicated, and really skilled at transitioning kids from English speaking homes to school life in Spanish. We're a bilingual household but no need to be timid if you/your child are not already bilingual. The school uses the Primary Years Program of the IB, and the inquiry-based model is used even with the smallest children. I'm constantly wowed by the level of conversation and questions that is happening in my son's classroom (2nd year of PK). All the teachers are from Latin American countries (unlike a lot of public dual language programs) so they are getting native Spanish and a range of accents/dialects. I'll selfishly say that my favorite thing about the school is the community. As newcomers we were immediately welcomed. My son and I have both made fast friends; families really come together for playdates and community wide events. I'd be happy to speak further with you, and I'm sure that they can arrange a tour if you want to come see the school. We're in session until June 14th.

My daughter started at EBI this fall as a preschooler. I was pretty worried about her transition from a full time nanny to a big school and new environment. But EBI did everything to help us both easily and seamlessly acclimate. They assigned us a buddy family before school started so we could know friendly faces and have someone to ask questions to over the summer.  And my daughter has loved every day of school since day 1. Her teachers are the most warm, kind, loving and smart dedicated team we could ask for. They care for her, connect with her, and make me very confident she is receiving the best education combined with the best care we could give her.  It's great she is learning more and more spanish, and is immersed in an international focused culture but honestly the best part is knowing how well she is loved and cared for, and how much of a community and sense of belonging we already have at the school. We absolutely love it and couldn't recommend it any more highly. 

Archived Q&A and Reviews

May 2016

RE: Spanish language daycare/preschool

I highly recommend Escuela Bilingüe Internacional. While they don't offer a school program for 2 year olds (the school is preschool through 8th grade) they do offer a free Spanish story time one Saturday per month. My then- two year old and I attended this until he was old enough to enroll in preschool. The teachers are native Spanish speakers and are energetic and loving. We've been incredibly happy with the EBI experience. In the fall you can attend a tour and info session for when your child nears 3.

Here are links to information about the free Spanish story time and other useful information.
Free Spanish Storytime ''Cuentacuentos'':
Admissions Process:
Language Philosophy:

April 2015

RE: Spanish immersion alternative to KISS

Our kids recently complete preschool at EBI (Escuela Bilingüe Internacional) in Oakland. Our kids thrived in this supportive, immersive and LOVING environment so we decided to stay for Kinder and beyond. I'd encourage you to consider reaching out to them to see if they have Fall openings. Hope that helps! mama de dos

March 2015

RE: Seeking Spanish Immersion Preschool

My daughter goes to EBI since kindergarten now she is on 1st grade. She went to a different Spanish immersion in Berkeley And I can see big differences as far as well structured, school program, teachers coordination and the language applying with the whole personal. The multicultural mind and the diversity in the school still surprises me and I enjoy been part of my daughter school community. Good luck finding the right school for you! AF adyju

Feb 2015

RE: seeking a Spanish immersion preschool

Hello to the mom looking at Spanish immersion preschools. I cannot comment on the strengths and weaknesses of the 4 programs that you're considering but I can share our experience at EBI. Our son started at EBI when he was 3 years old and is now in 3rd grade at EBI. We love the school's mission, the amazing and loving teachers, the language and the IB curriculum (less relevant maybe at preschool age). In summary EBI's strengths are its mission, its teachers and staff, the focus on language development and learning across the curriculum, its music program, and the community in total. From a preschool perspective, I can almost guarantee that you'll never feel sad or guilty as a mom dropping your son off in one of the prekinder classrooms. You'll also quickly see the skills (social, emotional, educational) that he will bring home and proudly display. EBI is the right choice. Hope this helps you narrow down your search. Mom of 3rd grader at EBI

We had two kids in EBI preschool. It's a great place to learn with a really strong and diverse community. One thing that was a pleasant surprise to us (non-Spanish speakers, non-Latino) is that, while your kid will learn about spanish-speaking country culture, this is truly a multi-cultural environment where many heritages are embraced and discussed. This school really values diversity (beyond race and heritage) and you'll see it infused in the teaching and actions of the school. It's worth a closer look as your child will learn about 'differences' in a very progressive way. EBI family

Escuela Bilingue Internacional is an incredible environment with a fun bunch of four classrooms for preschoolers, loving Latina and Spanish teachers, and a robust International Baccalaureate tradition. It's charmingly located in an old Catholic school. The school goes up to eighth grade, too, so if you wanted to make one school decision, this is the place.

My kids have been happy at the school for years now, and their academic learning is balanced by good caretaking of their emotional and social development. There is no drill and kill teaching to the test; the curriculum encourages creativity and questions while linking different subjects. Escuela Bilingue Internacional rocks!

Nov 2013

Re: Feedback wanted about TRIS for pre-primary

Hello! If you are considering raising a bilingual child, I'd recommend that you start with a language-immersion preschool (like EBI) so that when it's time for Kinder, you at least have that under your belt. Yes, a monolingual child can start at Kinder (if you decided to pursue it after-the-fact) but the studies show that earlier is better and then they can start reaping the cognitive benefits of being bilingual. The other thing that I know about EBI is that it is an IB school... something else that merits its own investigating. I wish we had known more about the IB curriculum and philosophy before committing to our particular school path. Good luck! Oakland Mom of a bilingual kid

Hi, I'm not very familiar with TRIS but would encourage you to continue your research into EBI. My son who is now in 2nd grade at EBI has attended since PreK (when he was 3 yrs old). Given that Spanish immersion is important to you, EBI is a proven way to go. Your child(ren) will be bilingual and biliterate at an early age and if they stick with it, for life. The teachers at EBI are AMAZING. In preK, they surround the kids with happiness and joy and fun yet teach them to provide Kindergarten readiness. The kids are sponges and love the environment. As the kids progress grades, they continue with their love of learning. Inquiry is a huge concept and the kids embrace it because they are interested in learning. The music program is also extraordinary. I could go on but hopefully you can see the passion in why you should pursue EBI. I believe there are information sessions and tours in the coming months. Check it out. You won't be disappointed that you spent the time. Stacy

My two children attend Escuela Bilingue Internacional. You said you are considering it the better option because of the full Spanish immersion. Yes, it is full Spanish immersion and the teachers are native Spanish speakers. The Spanish language acquisition aspect of the school is amazing. But that's actually not the best part. The IB curriculum, and the teachers' unique application of its principles and values is inspiring. The children truly develop a love of learning, inquiry, creativity, and they simply love school. In a time when our children will have access to every bit of information literally at their fingertips, it is so crucial that they learn how to learn and how to engage with what they are learning on multiple levels and really, from multiple dimensions. And the staff at EBI truly focus on that. Beyond that, the staff are warm and welcoming in a way that can only be explained by their largely non-Anglo roots. In case you could't tell, we highly recommend EBI for many many reasons. We couldn't be happier with our children's experience there.

March 2013

Hi parents, We are wondering your thoughts on Spanish preschool education versus a play-based program like Montessori. We're trying to raise our daughter bilingually with Spanish, but both parents are native English speakers who are a little rusty, so we need the reinforcement of her daycare/preschool providers to help (our former nanny spoke Spanish, so our 18-month old has a firm foundation in the language). We always thought we'd do a Montessori school, but there are no Spanish Montessoris in Berkeley, where we live and work (so Renaissance is out of the question for us). Both K.I.S.S. and BAHIA seem more academic than play-based (plus, we're way down on the BAHIA waiting list), while Mi Escuelita seems more like a traditional daycare than a Montessori. Any advice from other parents who've prioritized a bilingual experience? Thank you in advance for your thoughts!

I highly recommend Escuela Bilingue Internacional in the Claremont neighborhood of Oakland.. It's a play based, dual immersion program, that goes from preschool to 6th grade. I am a teacher, and I highly prioritized bilingual education for my kids, and after lobbying unsuccessfully for 2 years in Alameda for a language immersion program I went to EBI. I actually didn't really care what language it was, I just knew that the future depends on being a global citizen, and EBI really focuses on this! The preschool is very child centered using multi-sensory activities, including a dedicated music teacher, yoga and hours of outside time. The website is Lissa

Hi there-- I think EBI (Escuela Bilingue Internacional) in Rockridge might be what you are looking for. We live in Berkeley, too, and our daughter is in pre-K at EBI, and we are really happy there. We actually got into BAHIA, but picked EBI as it seemed very play-based and supportive of open ended exploration, thanks to the IB curriculum (although I'm sure BAHIA's great, too). We haven't been disappointed! EBI's been a great fit for our family, and our daughter loves her school. It's also an easy commute from Berkeley. Kris

Feb 2012

Hi! I am looking at EBI for pre-primary for my daughter, and I had a couple of questions in looking at EBI for both pre-primary and possibly elementary if it was a good fit:

1. How does EBI do with kids who have a slow-to-warm up temperment (i.e. do very well when transitioned, but aren't fast to warm up to new situations)? Anyone have a kid like this in EBI's pre-primary? Are any of the EBI pre-primary teachers especially good with these types of kids?

2. Does anyone have a kid in EBI's elementary program who is working above grade level (i.e. is EBI capable of indivualizing/accelerating curriculum for kids who are capable of moving through material quickly or like to look at things in unusual depth)? Does EBI do well with very bright kids?

3. For elementary: Do you feel EBI is good about making sure that the kids are working at at least grade level by state standards in the absence of standardized testing?

Thank you! checking out EBI

My daughter (4 years old) is in Pre-K at EBI. This is our first year at the school, and it has been a wonderful experience. To answer your questions:

1) The teachers have experience with all types of children, including slow-to-warm up kids. We found that the teachers made a point of connecting with each of the kids in my daughter's class from the very first day and regularly updated parents on how the kids were transitioning. At the start of the school year, there is a "meet the teachers" morning when the kids visit the classroom with their parents. Before that morning our daughter had been apprehensive about starting at a new school. During that classroom visit, one of the teachers sat down with her, and they made a butterfly drawing together. That butterfly changed everything for our daughter. She proudly showed it to us and was suddenly happy to give her new school a try. It has been smooth sailing since then. The classroom is well-organized, with a rhythm and routine that my daughter finds to be comfortable, interesting, and fun. We could not be happier with our experience this year.

2) Since my daughter will be in kindergarten next year we have been paying particular attention to the elementary school program. In kinder and above, the teachers work each day with students in small groups, clustered by skill level, on reading, writing, and math. This approach allows students at all levels to be appropriately challenged, including those who are working above grade level.

3) EBI is an International Baccalaureate (IB) authorized World School. The IB program is recognized internationally for its academic strength. EBI's curriculum follows the IB guidelines and is quite thorough in scope and sequence, meeting and surpassing state standards. Happy EBI Mama

In 2008, when our family was exploring preschools for our daughter, who had no prior Spanish and had very rarely been away from either parent, we had similar concerns. How would she fit in in the classroom, especially immersed in a new language? Would she be supported by the staff with enough attention and respect for her emotional needs?

What we found with EBI was no less than amazing. The pre-primary teachers (who are bilingual) are experienced, professional, paired well and offer a range of support to the children. When emotional issues require it, the teachers revert to the native language of the child to ensure understanding - though this happened a lot less that we anticipated. Our daughter thrived, picked up Spanish like a sponge, learned social skills and had her developing sense of wonder about the world nourished and supported.

Now in her fourth year at EBI, she is in first grade. I am happy to say that both of her first pre-primary (as well as her second year pre-primary and Kindergarten) teachers are still at EBI, and I canC",E!t say enough about them. Initially we came to EBI for the Spanish immersion, but equally vital to the school and consequently our daughterC",E!s growth is the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years program that provides the academic structure for the school. It is inquiry-based, gives attention to the academic, social, and physical well-being of the children while fostering a love of learning. We were told that with second language immersion programs that English reading and acquisition could be slightly behind until 3rd grade or so. This is not the case for our daughter. With the support of a fantastic kindergarten English program (even at 1 hour a day) she was reading well beyond her grade level even at the end of last year. The children are often organized in small groups relative to their levels of acquisition, specifically for reading and mathematics, so their progress is well tracked and they are appropriately challenged.

Although the admissions, curriculum director and head of school are best to answer these types of questions, it is my understanding that state law requires for schools to adhere to state standards for each grade level. Our 4 year experience (2 years in elementary) dictates that EBI classrooms not only meet but likely surpass these. Come to an information session for more specific answers Cb you won't be disappointed. A happy EBI parent

Oct 2011

Re: Spanish language preschool recommendations

EBI! (Escuela Bilingue Internacional) It is a WONDERFUL school. Our 2 boys have been there from the age of three (they're in Kindergarten and 2 grade now). They are both fluent and can read & write in Spanish and English. I love everything about the school - the warm and huggy teachers, the thoughful education my boys are receiving, the fabulous head of the school, and the amazing parents & kids who make up the community. It is the best. We could not be happier. Una mama de dos muCJune 2008ecos

Our situation is almost identical to yours. My wife is fluent in Spanish, but I speak almost none. However, we both wanted a bilingual education for our 3 year old daughter. We ended up enrolling her at Escuela Bilingue Internacional (EBI), which is located on the Oakland/Berkeley border. We were very impressed by their teaching method, especially the International Baccalaureate (IB) program. While we did consider some other language schools, it seemed to us that EBI understood that while becoming bilingual is very important, it is still just one component of a complete education. Also, we found that a number of other children who attend come from households where Spanish is not the primary language spoken.

Although our daughter has only been there a short while, she is already starting to say some words in Spanish and sing some Spanish songs. We're very happy with our choice, and I would highly recommend EBI to others. Feel free to email me if you want any more information. Peter

Escuela Bilingue Internacional starts in preschool, and can stay just a preschool for your child, but also will go up to 8th grade. I'm looking forward to having fully biliterate kids who also will speak some conversational Mandarin, which is added four hours a week after third grade. - parent

Our 3 and 5 year old sons just started at Escuela Bilingue Internacional this year in Oakland, and we couldn't be happier to be there. The school and its staff are incredibly thoughtful and dedicated, providing a warm, welcoming, creative environment that our kids love! It's only been two months and already my boys, who previously had no Spanish, are absorbing the language. They are learning a tremendous amount and more importantly to us, having a lot of fun doing it. It's amazing to see their language skills blossom alongside their confidence. I highly recommend the school. Feel free to email me directly via moderator if you have more questions. We love EBI

Nov 2010

I recently toured EBI on Alcatraz as a potential pre-school for our daughter. I love the idea of Spanish Immersion, but the facilities are not as idyllic as many of the local preschools. Also, the parent who lead our tour kept pointing out how all of the children were quiet and ''doing what they were supposed to be doing'' which I am not sure I want for pre-school. I would love input directly related to pre-school at EBI. Was there enough play during the day, was it a warm environment, etc. on the fence

I have a kindergartner at the Escuela Bilingue Internacional. Our child came to the school as a three-year-old for preschool not knowing Spanish, and rarely having been away from either my husband or myself. Not only did we find the teachers warm, loving and professional, but our daughter gained enormous self confidence. We found the PK program to be a great combination of structure and play, with many special activities and an emphasis on letting the children explore those arenas they express interest in. Additionally, the International Baccalaureate program EBI utilizes is designed to give focus to multiple aspects of a child's development: academic, physical and social/emotional, as well as helping to create community with a larger outlook. As a result, we have a child who is blossoming. She is active, imaginative, has a love of nature, is reading and writing in both Spanish and English and fascinated with the world. We are very happy with the EBI experience, and most importantly so is our child. Happy EBI Parent

I have 2 children at EBI and our family has been there since the school opened. My oldest, now in 2nd grade, started in preschool when EBI opened and our 2nd is in his 2nd year of preschool now. While the facilities may not look as idyllic as other schools, EBI has made substantial investments in the facilities over the past 5 years, resulting in a school that the children love. EBI offers a warm and loving environment that includes not only the faculty, but also the entire community, which is one of the reasons that we love it. Our family was some what hesitant at first with EBI, but have been come strong supporters of both EBI and the IB curriculum. The children have plenty of time to play and the integrated curriculum allows the children to learn even when they are playing. One last note, the parents association is actively involved in improving the building and grounds, which has resulted in many improvements and the entire community is committed to ensuring our children have the best learning environment. If you have more questions about EBI, please feel free to contact me. I would be more than happy to share our experiences. Jennifer

My boy is in his second year of EBI pre-school. He'll go to public elementary school next year, but we're going to be very sad to leave. I've never felt that the kids were pushed to quietly do what they're supposed to be doing (although I'm sure the teachers work to keep the noise level down). The younger pre-school classes are definitely looser, with the older pre-school group starting to introduce tables with a certain project on it, which the kids are encouraged to do for 5-10 minutes. There's a lot of free time, with different areas to choose from. The times that they're encouraged to do the same thing are for circle time or music/dance class, but my sense is that that's pretty standard in pre-schools. I've seen no academic pressure (which I did in my older son's Montessori pre-school) but he's started writing his name and discussing new math concepts, so they're doing some stuff.

Largely, I've seen a school that was very flexible and smart about figuring out what works with each child and how to solve problems. I often hear teachers commenting about a kid's preferences -- who they play with, which types of games/activities they gravitate toward.

Within a few weeks of starting, my boy THREW DIRT at a teacher. Twice. I was pretty nervous -- I know of pre-schools that put kids on probation for that kind of thing. They are very calm and smart about misbehavior (although, obviously, it's not tolerated).

I really like the size. It's big enough that there's a good selection of kids to make friends with (I've known kids at smaller preschools who didn't have enough kids of their age, gender, interests). Yet, every teacher/administrator knows every kid.

I also like that there's plenty of outside play time. They bring out new things to mix it up a little and when it's wet or cold, they play in the gym. anne

My son has been at EBI since it opened, and the very reason I keep him there is the incredible warmth and love he feels each and every day. He feels valued, special, and knows that his teachers and friends are looking out for him. Our daughter has been in EBI for one year in the preschool program, and she LOVES it - plenty of play time, a multitude of projects to choose's very stimulating and in my experience, not so quiet. :-) But there is a structure to the day that seems to work really well for the time, snack time, free play, story time, art...I find it to be the perfect environment for our children.

My son has learning differences and is now in 1st grade, and I can't imagine a more supportive, warm environment for him - kids are encouraged to be collaborative, to take risks, to have integrity....and it's actually part of the curriculum from Pre-K up vs just a poster on the wall. Since day one, I have felt like each of our teachers has truly known my son, and truly loved him - there is no doubt in my mind, and the ready hugs and endearments illustrate it.

My 4 year old, btw, has VERY high energy and needs lots of room for it, and totally enjoys her day. If you ask her what she did all day, she tell you played. And played. And played. I can't recommend this school enough - it's an incredible community, and a place where I know my children will feel loved and valued each and every day. A current EBI parent

First, I applaud you for reaching out to the community to ask questions about preschools that your child may attend. It is important.

I am a parent of a first time EBI student (pre-K), and my daughter has flourished at EBI. I wasn't expecting to see such profound changes in her, but I am beginning to see that is has a lot to do with the philosophy of the school, and the Spanish is just a bonus.

I think the thing my daughter is responding to so favorably is the fact that the teachers and administrators respect her. In that I mean that they assume she has smart, interesting, intuitive things to say, and the exercises in the classroom are designed to elicit her thoughts and musings. They negotiate with her and seek her input. And at the end of the day I think kids are ''well behaved'' at EBI, not because they are told what to do, but precisely because they are not told what to do.

Besides the stuff in the classroom, the entire school is supportive and active. I am delighted with the level of participation of parents and others.

I also think there is plenty of play time and free time. My daughter talks frequently of her friends and the time she spends playing with them.

Finally, she is so happy. She sings when she gets home, and she tells us about the things she is learning. She seems genuinely intrigued by what is going on at school.

I recommend EBI whole heartedly. Give it another try. Happy EBI Mom

Dear On the Fence, I am sorry that your experience on the tour of EBI was not as positive as it could have been.

I wanted to respond to your request for input relating to the pre-school at EBI. I read your post with a chuckle as I am a mother of 2 active boys who attend EBI, (one in Pre-School and the other now in K) neither of whom are quiet, nor are they predisposed to simply sit and 'do what they are supposed to be doing'. However, much to my relief and surprise, they are both capable of it when engaged by a positive and creative learning environment. And this is precisely why EBI is such a good fit for both of them.

We stumbled upon EBI when our oldest (now 5) was ready for pre-school and quickly came to realize what an incredible gift it was for him. The fact that he is now fluent in spanish is a bonus. We cannot imagine being anywhere else. He is a free spirit who was always the first to tire of circle time and ready to move to a new activity. His teachers knew this and simply worked with him. EBI has been a rewarding, nurturing and attentive environment for him. All the teachers are incredibly caring and equally determined to create a learning environment in which each child can flourish. One of the many remarkable characteristics of EBI is it's ability to cater to children with so many different temperaments, cultures and backgrounds.

As to your specific concerns about playtime: Yes there is a large period in the mid-morning when the children are able to play outdoors and explore, build, dig, ride tricycles and scooters, climb, run and garden. This is followed by lunch and then a rest/nap period. And while inside they are free to move between a wide variety of activities in different parts of the classroom.

I agree, as a visual person, that EBI's current campus at the old St Augustine's School does have it's challenges. But the dedicated parent and teacher group continues to make vast improvements and this is definitely a book and its cover scenario here. What the school's built environment may lack in aesthetics, its human experience more than compensates for with fun, openness, encouragement, warmth, creativity and support. I have come to know that how children are cared for in an environment is far more important to them than how it looks. My boys continue to remind me that laughter and play can happen anywhere regardless of the concrete to grass ratio.

Parent to parent, you cannot beat the parent community at this school!! The parents have become a such an important part of our lives and are an incredibly welcoming and caring group.

Clearly, I am an advocate for the International Baccalaureate program, EBI, its remarkable staff and school board, so that probably qualifies me as biased, or perhaps a more charitable way of putting it is that I am extremely confident in my choice of school. But, on a fundamental level, this is an incredible place for my two boys who are thriving and speaking spanish. (we speak only english at home - I have to get my game on and catch up) If they weren't having their needs met, they'd be somewhere else.

I do understand what it's like to be at that place where you are trying to determine where your child's pre-school experience will begin - wading through the options can be overwhelming when you are making such an important decision. I would be happy to contain my enthusiasm for EBI and talk with you about any of your concerns or answer any questions you have about how small fries spend their time during the school day at EBI.

Good luck with your preschool search for your little girl, I hope to meet you at the Pre-K coffee hour soon!! mom of 2 risk-taking inquirers at EBI

Warm, light hearted, organized yet playful...that's what I see time after time when I drift through our school. It is a very safe, joyful place to be. And the thrill of seeing your kid pick up language as if he were picking up pretty seashells along the very naturally....well, a parent can hardly contain herself! e.

Hi there - I am a new parent at EBI (Escuela Bilingue Internacional) and understand your concerns. I agree that the classrooms don't look like the ''typical'' preschool, especially since it is attached to an elementary school. That said - it is *above* every other preschool in many ways (and I looked at 9 schools!). The activities are varied by skills set, interest, and change every day. The classrooms are all set up with play areas that encourage learning and inquiring minds: what is a broken leg? Look in doctor's area - there are real x-rays to look at, and every child has their own surgical mask to put on too. The teachers are so warm and loving - they hug the kids, kneel down to talk to them - it feels like a home day care sometimes in that way. The best thing of all is the diversity - they have great span of children, families and cultures - much more diverse than my neighborhood in Alameda! Anyway - from another new parent, I just wanted to say - the kids are happy, engaged and love school! That was enough for me :-) Good luck in your search Alameda EBI parent

Hi, I feel like you may have gotten the wrong impression on your tour and want to help provide additional perspective about EBI. My son is in 2nd year of EBI preschool. He and we love it and could not imagine another option.

''Is it too rigid'' is part of your question. Learning at EBI at this age happens in many forms - some of it through play, music, and dance. Scheduled recess times (outside or in the gym for weather reasons) are incorporated into the daily schedule. Keep in mind though EBI is not a daycare -- the kids are really learning and they are learning amazing things. Many preschools do not have the same learning objectives that EBI does. EBI is preparing children to be life-long learners from an early age but certainly play, art, music, dance are intermixed and supportive of the learning objectives. The teachers are there to teach and so you witnessed a component of a class where children were either listening or following instructions to work on a project. This is a commendable example of how students want to learn and can focus at this age and how EBI teachers bring this out in the kids. Still, teachers customize content and lessons to each child's learning needs and differences as needed.

You also asked about ''warmth'' of teachers. I cannot say enough about the amazing teachers and staff. My husband and I both work full time and my son is at EBI for approx 10 hours most days. I know he receives love, hugs, close attention, interest, and warm care far superior to what I could imagine in any other school.

You also mentioned facilities. The EBI building may not be shiny and new but it is well maintained and updated. A huge plus from other preschools we visited early on is the large space for each classrooms. The EBI space is enormous really and children have access to space beyond their individual class for certain activities, including the library, the gym, a large cafeteria, and of course the playground.

I hope this helps you reconsider your opinion. I'd encourage you to come to an Open House and speak to more parents. Stacy

As a parent who has had a child at EBI for the last 3 years (including this year), I can say that my experience there has been quite different from your impression. They play a lot in the preschool and are very committed to giving the children an individualized education that is not about kids sitting quietly and ''doing what they are supposed to be doing''. The faculty and community both are extremely supportive and committed. I could not recommend it more highly. Ann

Dear Parent, I am happy to address these very important questions. I am a parent of two EBI children. As someone who has taught in numerous and diverse Bay Area schools for over 10 years, (public and private), I am confident in and ecstatic at having chosen EBI as our school. Initially we were interested in EBI because a bilingual, bi-literate education is important to our family. Nonetheless, we fell in love with the school for many reasons. The International Baccalaureate curriculum is unlike any school curriculum I have ever seen. Rather than taking every subject separately, and teaching along to a textbook, all subjects are integrated within a sequence of units of inquiry, in which students explore a central theme, finding connections not only within all subjects, but also in life. Students become critical and independent thinkers, and I've seen this first-hand in my own children, as their intellectual curiosity has extended to everything they do. Yes, the students learn so much but not so that they can test well. EBI's goal is much more important: to nurture responsible, thoughtful, enterprising world citizens.

As for "quietly doing what they are told", I am very surprised your guide's comment, as EBI promotes questions, dialogue, and active - not passive - participation in all students. The warm, superb community of staff and families additionally gives students the safety and support to be fearless, motivated learners.

What do my children have to say? They love their school, their classmates, their teachers, and LOOK FORWARD to going to EBI every day (no kidding). Our 3.5 year-old doesn't even wave goodbye to me when she arrives in the morning. Sigh.

I invite you to please come again and take another tour, as I think you may see EBI differently. Anita

I have a child at EBI and she loves it. From the time we pull into the parking lot, there is a staff member or parent welcoming all children. John Fulk, Head of school, is almost always out in the front welcoming all children in the morning. It is so amazing that he knows every childs name. You can tell the children are feeling good when welcomed in the morning. My child is definitely not quiet in classroom and moves around ALOT. The teacher has a way of working with my childs individuality without forcing my child to fit into a typical mold of ''how its supposed to be,learn /happen''. Because of the dedicated staff, their patience, commitment to success, fun personality, my child is happy about school for the first time ever. My child is a first time EBI student with out any previous spanish vocabulary and can now understand most of what is being comunicated in just 3 months. Her confidence has only grown since attending EBI. After I drop off in the morning or after leaving a parent meeting, or whatever at the school, I walk away thinking how lucky we are to have such an amazing school, staff and community of parents at EBI. The Halloween parade was AMAZING! The children put the parade on, created a dance and performed for all the parents. AMAZING!!! We just had special GrandPersons Day, celebrating the special people in our childrens life. Those Grandpersons, attended school that day and a special presentation happened. Things like that make our school community tighter. Parents together, talking, you feel community. In end, EBI is an amazing school and every day I know how wonderfull it is that our child attends, and likes attending, EBI. C.

Nov 2008

Re: Spanish or bilingual co-op preschool in Berkeley
Our daughter attended EBI in Oakland for preschool. We loved it so much, we enrolled her in Kindergarten. We were very impressed with the teachers; they are warm, creative and dedicated. And the new head of school is fantastic! He inately understands the needs of the kids, parents and staff and does a beautiful job balancing them while ensuring the school is delivering an excellent education in a loving environment. The community of